Incontinence: Reduce Caregiver's Stress

February 16, 2015

As you or your loved one age, their capacity to control bowel and bladder functions can decrease for many reasons. 

This can become an extremely stressful and challenging situation for both you and your loved one. 

Caregiver Stress recommends these 7 steps to help reduce the stress on both of you:

 Check with your loved one's health care provider

    For any new instances of bowel or bladder incontinence, visit a professional to determine its cause. The incontinence can be preventable or it may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. 

    Always be prepared

      Bring a small bag with supplies such as incontinence briefs or pads, wipes and even an extra change of clothes in case an accident happens when you are away from home. 

      Wear clothes that are easy to het on and off

        Slacks with an elastic waistband can be pulled down quickly, enabling your loved one to get on the toilet faster and possibly avoid an accident. And if you do have to help your loved one with cleanup, easy-off garments make it simpler for you to undress and re-dress them.

        Watch your loved one's diet

          There are foods that can make both bladder and bowel incontinence worse. Avoid ingesting caffeine, spicy foods, chocolate, and a lot of dried or fresh fruit. 

          Be empathetic

            Losing control of bodily functions ranks among the most stressful health issues. Approach the situation with extreme patience and tact to ease both your loved one’s and your own anxiety. 

            Adopt a matter of fact approach

              Focus on projecting in a straightforward and reassuring manner. For example: "Oh, that’s too bad you had an accident, but don’t worry. It happens to a lot of people. Let me help you get cleaned up and into some dry, comfortable clothes." For some this attitude can be be challenging at first, fake it, soon it will become natural. 

              Accept help

                Often caregivers drawn the line when it comes to dealing with incontinence. This decision should not impact your loved one's personal hygiene, don't hesitate to contact professionals. 

                  Incontinence can be a very challenging problem for even the most experienced caregiver. Incontinence is particularly a common issue for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

                  Further tips specific related to incontinence and memory care:

                  The Dementia Support Network &

                  And, Live Oak's Caregiver resources selection. 

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